Roanoke Times, March 30, 1952

VPI Board Has 'No Idea' Of Dropping Cadet Corps

Suffolk, March 29 (AP) -- The Virginia Polytechnic Institute Board of Visitors has "no idea" of abandoning the corps of cadets at the college, Vernon G. Eberwine, chairman of the Board's military committee, said today.

Information Asked
The comment came in answer to a request for information on the board's views on proposals now being bandied about the school that the corps of cadets be abolished. The Peanut Chapter of the VPI Alumni Association, meeting here Tuesday night , discussed the proposal at length and voted, 34 to 3, in favor of the corps.

The chapter's action came after a receipt of a letter from the "Virginia Tech," VPI campus newspaper, for alumni expression on the subject.

"We feel, " said Eberwine," that the military science program is one of the most valuable courses in the school and do not think it ought to be dropped."

It has been charged that the cadet corps and the compulsory feature of the military program hurts VPI's enrollment. Eberwine disagreed with this view.

"It keeps some away, true," he said, "but it also brings others we otherwise wouldn't have."

The drop in enrollment during recent years, he continued, is probably due to many other factors.

"For example, he said, "a high school graduate can go to the navy yard or some other place and make more money than some of the professors at VPI."

Argument in Favor
One of the most compelling arguments in favor of the corps, said the board member, is the fact that "not one alumni chapter has asked that it be abandoned."

"They are the men who have been through the military program," he said, "and I think their opinions are well worth considering."

By way of explanation, he said that as a general rule, students entering VPI are required to be in the cadet corps for two years. The course is elective for the last two years.

There are numerous exceptions to the general rule, however, he noted. Men who are married, physically unqualified or veterans of the armed services are not required to join the corps. Also, those who transfer to VPI from other schools during their junior and senior years do not have to take the course.

"What we would like to do," __________________sible effort to strengthen the _____________ he said, "is to make every pos-__________________ corps and make it more popular.

Continue Program
Of the approximately 3,500 students enrolled at the college now, some 1,800 are in the cadet corps, he added. More than three-fourths of the students who are in the corps their first years in college elect to continue with it their junior and senior years.

"That shows," he declared, "that the students themselves recognize its value."

According to the letter received here from the "Virginia Tech," there is a strong opinion on the campus in favor of abolishing the corps but substituting for it a reserve officers training corps unit. The difference between these two plans is that under the latter, cadets would still be required to take military training for the first two years, not live under 24-hour military discipline and wear uniforms all the time. However, most colleges with ROTC units make membership compulsory for the first two years.